DISTRICT: FORT SASKATCHEWAN-VEGREVILLE
|Updated: Mar. 4, 2008 12:02 MST
||76 of 76 polls reporting
FORT SASKATCHEWAN-VEGREVILLE (55)
Current MLA: Ed Stelmach (PC)
||Earl J. Woods
This riding takes in a rural area east of the Strathcona riding in east-central
Alberta, then reaches west to the Edmonton city limits to encompass the
city of Fort Saskatchewan. Other communities here include Tofield, Mundare,
Lamont, Bruderheim and Vegreville. The riding is a creation of the 2004
redistribution, involving the merger of a large portion of the old Vegreville-Viking
riding with the northern reaches of the former Clover Bar-Fort Saskatchewan
Manufacturing and agriculture provide most of the jobs in this riding,
and contribute to average household incomes of $55,734, somewhat below
the provincial average. However, also below average are the number of residents
considered low income: 8.3 per cent. Seventy-two per cent of people
here were born in Alberta, and almost 14 per cent are of Ukrainian origin.
Just over five per cent are immigrants.
This is Premier Ed Stelmach's riding. In 2004, the long-time Conservative MLA defeated Liberal
Peter Schneider by a comfortable margin — double the number of votes — making him the first MLA in the newly created riding.
In 2004, voter turnout was 51.4 per cent.
In 2006, after Ralph Klein hinted he would be stepping down as premier, Stelmach joined the race to lead the Alberta Conservative party and won. He was sworn into the province's top spot on Dec. 14, 2006.
Stelmach was the incumbent in the old riding of Vegreville-Viking, which has elected Tories and New Democrats from the early 1970s. Tory John Battuk served there from 1971-86, and
then Derek Fox of the NDP took the seat by 575 votes. Fox doubled that
margin in 1989, but in 1993 he ran up against Tory Ed Stelmach, who
beat him by 1,390 votes. In 1997, and again in 2001, Stelmach defeated Liberal
Ross Demkiw by wide margins.
In 2001, voter turnout in Vegreville-Viking was 61.8 per cent.
The old riding of Clover Bar-Fort Saskatchewan has had a diverse political
history. From 1967-89, it was held by Walter Buck. Buck started his career
with the Social Credit Party, won as an independent in 1982, and then,
under the banner of the Representative Party of Alberta, defeated future
MLA Muriel Abdurahman (who ran as a Tory) in 1986. In 1989, Tory Kurt
Gessell beat Liberal Stephen Lindop by 184 votes. In 1993, Abdurahman
ran as a Liberal and won, only to be defeated in the next election by
Tory incumbent Rob Lougheed. Lougheed won again in 2001, receiving double
the votes of runner-up Skip Gordon, a Liberal.
In 2001, voter turnout in Clover Bar-Fort Saskatchewan was 60.3 per
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